Bevin Alexander~~ 4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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Sun Tzu at Gettysburg--Ancient Military Wisdom in the Modern World

Bevin Alexander
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

     We all have learned about the results of wars from our teachers in school. The battles at Gettysburg, Napoleon at Waterloo, Hitler in Russia, and so on and how the results have shaped the world powers in relationships today. Bevin Alexander in Sun Tzu at Gettysburg highlights many of the maxims or theories laid down 2,400 years ago which apply to warfare in the modern era.Written in a method that is clear, concise, and easy to follow, Sun Tzu at Gettysburg provides the descriptions of how some of the principles, if properly followed, would have changed the outcomes of many different battles. For instance, during the United States Civil War, the South had opportunities to win strategic battles but lost them because of inept leadership or the failure to recognize placement of troops and weaponry. 
    Some of the theories are very simple and obvious.  When the United States committed troops to the Korean conflict, General Douglas MacArthur recog
nized a weakness in North Korea’s attack on South Korea; he exploited this by cutting off the supply line North Korea had established so that the troops were
unable to fight without supplies. However, what he missed was the intervention by China and the warnings they gave since there would not be a buffer between China and its neighbor Korea. Alexander was able to point out that there should
have been recognition of another maxim of Sun Tzu, “Go to extreme limits to
avoid war.”
    One segment, discussing World War II and the mistakes made by Hitler, is very interesting. Alexander alleges that had Hitler followed the advice of his
generals and their methodology, we would all be speaking German today.
    Sun Tzu’s principles were not known to the Western world until the 1970’s
when guerrilla forces in Vietnam, using Sun Tzu’s axioms, defeated French and American armies. Until then, Western military leaders had to rely on statements and conclusions reached by individuals over the years.
     Bevin Alexander is the author of How Great Generals Win, Lost Victories,
and Inside the Nazi War Machine. He is highly respected and an exceptional authority on history who footnotes all that he writes and describes in detail how Sun Tzu was so forward in his thinking that his theories could win today.

    Clark Isaacs


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